In this post, we are going to share everything that has to do with trekking in Annapurna Base Camp Trek in January. We are also sharing a few practical tips with you about choosing this winter snow trek and how to make the best out of it.
Does this trek even need an introduction?
This trek exploded in terms of popularity long after it was opened up for the summit on 3 June 1950. Come 2000’s and this site has outnumbered every other base camp for hikers. The endearing campsites, a thrilling summit view, and one of the best winter experiences in the Himalayas. And the fun doesn’t end here.
Ask any mountain trekkers, and you will find Annapurna Base Camp Trek in their bucket list if they haven’t completed already. And the passion to submit themselves again, every chance they get. They’re completely justified, you know, it’s not every day you come across such a perfect trek.
ABS’s Of Annapurna Base Camp
The Annapurna Conservation Area (7,629 km²) is a well-known trekking region all around the globe. This is often considered one of the best in the world and rightfully so. There aren’t many treks that blend vast arrays of landscapes including one of the highest mountains in the world in just seven days. The green terrace of rice plantation, blooming rhododendron covering the entire hills and the gigantic mountain right in your face! And that’s just the beginning.
Annapurna Base Camp sits at an Altitude of 4130 m. The elevation offers a perfect position to offer the best of the upper hilly region and the lower mountains. Annapurna Base Camp provides you with the viewpoint for observing spectacular mountains, namely Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Machapuchhre (6993 m), and Hiunchuli (6441 m).
Annapurna Base Camp trek usually starts with a 7-days hike. Based on your itinerary and the length of your walking days, the trek can be extended for 12 days. Here we have included the itinerary of this majestic journey below. Also, any trekkers coming to Annapurna Base Camp is required to obtain two permits from the government, TIMS, and ACAP. Get a taxi to Nepal Tourism Board, take out your passport and flash $20 bill and you’re all set.
Let’s observe the outline of the base camp trek:
DURATION: 7-12 Days ALTITUDE: 4130 M SEASONS: January ACCOMMODATION:
Teahouse/Lodge STARTING POINT: Nayapul ENDING POINT: Kande LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: Moderate-High Permits Required: TIMS, ACAP
Annapurna Base Camp Trek in January
So how does trekking in ABC differ in January compared to other months?
Well, January is the prime winter month, meaning, the temperature drops below the freezing point. It is cold, really cold! With an altitude of 4130 meters, this should be a no-brainer.
‘Winter is NOT a season to trek, it’s impossible to even for an experienced trekker.’ That’s not true. Winter is longer than summer in the Himalayas and that’s a fact. However, the altitude is lower compared to Everest Base Camp and Kanchenjunga Base Camps, making it relatively easier to conquer with less harsh winter conditions. Also, as you slowly ascend from the low regions. Your body gradually acclimatizes to the changing weather conditions. This helps greatly in fighting that harsh chilly winds and snow-covered tracks.
Weather at Annapurna Base Camp in January
If you target January, well, congratulations! You will be blessed with maximum snow that covers the entire region, and the least number of fellow trekkers poses a risk of being eaten alive by Yeti.
Just Kidding! There might be 2 days when you will observe some form of precipitation and 2 days of overcast conditions. And Yeti doesn’t exist. Apologies, my fellow believers.
Every year, ABC sees massive crowds throng to the mountains in autumn and spring for the experience. What was a lot of people has now become an impossible crowd! So if you don’t have a holiday leave constraint, choose January and you will have all of the treks to yourself, literally.
Also, as you slowly ascend from the low regions. Your body gradually acclimatizes to the changing weather conditions. This helps greatly in fighting that harsh chilly winds and snow-covered tracks.
Let us now take a look at the weather of the places along the Annapurna Base Camp trail for all of January.
|Average Temperature (degree C)
|Minimum temperature (degree C)
|Maximum temperature (degree C)
Choose January if you want a grand snow experience and clear mountain views. Most trekkers come back raving about the snow here. But be warned, this trial has started to get attention for winters and the number of trekkers is gradually rising. So do it this year. Maybe next, cause you never know when the mysterious treasures of this incredible trek will be crowded with explorers even in the winter. Also, be physically prepared because it has some good climbs.
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Highlights of Annapurna Base Camp in January
There are a million things to witness and a million more emotions to experience in this marvelous trek. Suum cuique, or as the world says to each his own, the highlights would be based on your motive of the trek. Here we have tried to summarize the three main reasons why you should trek to Annapurna Base Camp in January.
1. The Landscape
The Annapurna trek goes through hills to the base of one of the world’s tallest mountains. January offers clear skies that opens up the world to witness some of the best up-close views of these majestic mountains. The phrase ‘taking the breath away’ would be an understatement.
January is the best reason for selecting this trek as the mountain ranges are simply as attractive as they could possibly be. The picturesque beauty of Annapurna I (8091 m), Annapurna South (7219 m), Machapuchhre (6993 m), and Hiunchuli (6441 m) are the major attractions during January. An experience for life, indeed!
2. The Biodiversity
The biodiversity of the Annapurna region is often overlooked for the mountains. For a trekker wishing to make the best out of this adventure, he will be blessed with the unparalleled wonders of vegetation on the trail. The thick green forest covers the entire tracks until you reach the destination. January covers the lusty green forests with snow, you will never be short of spots for taking photographs.
3. The Culture
The cultural insights in some local tribes, mostly Gurung, their touch of hospitality and warmth is breathtaking. The Gurungs own and operate most of the teahouses and lodges. Along with the warm welcome, you will observe their traditions, their unique attire, and delicious local cuisines. You will be surprised to find your continental menu alongside the local cuisines in most of these tea-houses. Many of the staff speak English and would welcome interactions. January welcomes the lowest number of trekkers in this region. This means you would receive the utmost care and hospitality. Also, the less busy month comes with discount offers and the few extras making January an ideal month for trekking in the ABC.
Packing List For Annapurna Base Camp in January
Layering is the key to conquer your ultimate adventure in Nepal.
The rule of thumb- the higher the altitude, the more the layering. Bring thermal shorts or trousers, a fleece jacket, and a light down jacket with a hood or dawn vest. The temperatures in Annapurna Base Camp will reach below the freezing point every night as we already mentioned. The accommodation facilities will not have a heating system. So your clothes are the only life support at those temperatures.
Your backpack can make or break your dream of completing this trek. Pack too few items, and you would miss out on the essentials. Pack too much and you would have a difficult time carrying them around (unless you’re hiring a porter). So, pack smart!
Here is a list of the essentials for Annapurna Base Camp Trek in January.
|1 wind/rain proof overlay- jacket and pants
1 down jacket. ( -20 D.C )
1 down vest
1 warm winter hat
1 lightweight thermal layer hat
1 peak hat
1 pair of gloves
1 Pair trekking boots.
|Diamox – for altitude
Vicks vapor rub
antinauseant –for nauseous
imodium – for diarrhea
blister bandaids or moleskin
advil cold and Dinus
|Foot powder (for Deb’s stinky feet)
|1, Head lamp with extra batteries,
1 sleeping bag heavy ( -20 D.C)
1 watch with alarm
1 Sunglasses ( UV protection )
1 camera with extra batteries.
2-3 portable chargers
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Itinerary For Annapurna Base Camp in January
As aforementioned, the Annapurna Base Camp trek usually starts with a 7-days hike. Based on your itinerary and the length of your walking days, the trek can be extended for 12 days. The trek starts from Nayapul, a little town 1.5 hours drive from Pokhara. The route passes via Ghorepani, Poonhill, Chomrong, and Modi Khola valley finally leading to the Paradis Sur Terre, the mighty Annapurna Base Camp.
Before we present you with the outline itinerary, let’s ponder on the trek routes you can choose from. There are 2 major routes that you can take to ABC. All routes coincide at Chomrong and follow the same path to the base camp. Here are some insights on them:
1. ABC, the direct route
This is perfect for anyone with less experience or is short of time. The beginner may want to spend less time in the cold winters, and this route offers exactly that. The Short Annapurna Base Camp has a shorter path than the regular Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Annapurna Base Camp direct route covers a total distance of 115 km in seven days. The trekkers with previous trekking experiences will have less difficulty as of the beginners. This route takes just 11 days. ABC short is the classic trek that passes through Ghandruk to reach ABC.
Keep in mind that this is no way peanut and butter of treks! The frequent ups and downs along the path is tiring and we highly recommend you engage in trekking focused exercises and take on short high altitude treks before heading for this big one.
‘The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.’ This quote exactly represents the short direct route to ABC. Here’s why. You will be conquering one hell of a challenge during the Short ABC trek as you go through the 3300 steep stone stairs. The long and steep stair path is hard and tiring, but definitely worth it. Take breaks, walk slowly, and keep yourself hydrated! Oh and be aware of hypothermia as January is the ultimate test of your physical strength.
Itinerary for ABC direct route
Day 01: Land in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Free and arrangement day
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft) 6-7 hour.
Day 04: Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul and trek to Ghandruk (1940m/6,364ft) 5-6 hour.
Day 05: Ghandruk to Sinuwa (2,360m/7,742ft) 5-6 hour
Day 06: Sinuwa to Deurali (3,230m/10,597ft) 6 hours.
Day 07: Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/13,549ft) 5 hours.
Day 08: Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo (2,340m/7,677ft) 6 hours.
Day 09: Bamboo to Jhinu Hot Spring (1,780m/5,839ft) 5 hours
Day 10: Jhinu Hot Spring to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara (820m/2,690ft) 7 hours.
2. ABC, The Complete Trek Via Poonhill
For anyone who has a few days to spare and looking forward to making the most of this adventure, we recommend the complete trek. Annapurna complete trek covers all the attractions Annapurna has to offer including Poon Hill, Ghandruk, Manang village, Throngla high pass 5416 meters, A holy Hindu temple Muktinath, Tato pani ( A Natural hot spring ), Machapuchre base camp meters, Annapurna base camp 4130 Meters, a great view of Annapurna full range with Mt Dhaulagiri from poon hill. And that’s just a few highlights!
The circuit goes through Nayapul-Ghorepani-Ghandruk-Nayapul, which is very rewarding in itself. You can opt to return via Jhinu Danda and take a day off in the delightful hot springs.
The cultural insights in some local tribes, mostly Gurung, their touch of hospitality and warmth is breathtaking. You will be witnessing a Guinness world record-holding destination as a bragging right with Kali Gandaki, the world’s deepest valley.
The Complete Trek is the most trendy trek, welcoming almost 2/3rd of all the trekkers every year in Nepal. This goes without saying that it’s one of the most crowded places in spring and Autumn. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and rush days, and instead opt for calm, peaceful, and better hospitality, January is the ideal month for you.
Here’s the outline itinerary of ABC complete trek in January.
Itinerary for ABC Complete Route
Day 01: Land in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Free and arrangement day.
Day 03: From Kathmandu Drive to Bulbule (923m).
Day: 04: Bulbule to Chamje (1410m).
Day 05: Chyamje to Bagarchhap (2160m).
Day 06: Bagarchhap to Chame (2630m).
Day 07: Chame to Pisang (3300m).
Day 08: Pisang to Manang (3500m).
Day 09: Acclimatization day in Manang.
Day 10: Manang to Ledar (4,250m).
Day 11: Ledar to Pedi or High camp (4,600m).
Day 12: Phedi to MuktiNath (3,710m).
Day 13: Mukti Nath to Jomsom (2750m) Via Kagbeni.
Day 14: Jomsom- Drive to Tatopani(1190) Natural hot spring.
Day 15: Trek down to Ghorepani (1,200m).
Day 16: Ghorepani- Poon Hill to Tadapani: (5-6hrs)
Day 17: Tadapani to Chhomrong: (4-5 hrs)
Day 18: Chhomrung to Dovan or Himalaya Hotel. (4-5 hrs)
Day 19: Dovan to Annapurna Base Camp (Sanctuary). (7-8 hrs)
Day 20: Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo. (6-7 hrs)
Day 21: Bamboo to Chhomrong. (5-6 hrs)
Day 22: Chhomrong to Ghandrung ( 5 to 6 hrs.)
Day 23: Ghandrung -Pokhara.
Tips for Trekking in Annapurna Base Camp in January
- Don’t hesitate to try the local cuisine. Try Dal Bhat and you will crave the taste long after you’re back in your country. Oh, and Dal Bhat is as much as you like kind of cuisine, except for the meat. You only pay once!
- Your trekking route does not have any ATMs along the way. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stock up on enough cash to get you by. Also set aside some $100-150 for the entry fees in religious sites and museums.
- Make sure you have some spare days on your trip. You will need them to rest and acclimatize especially for the beginners. Also, snow-covered tracks, sometimes are not well suited to trek and you will be required to wait for a couple of days.
- Although the locals will try to help you as much as they can, their idea of distance and the time it takes may not coincide with yours. They are fast and used to with the conditions and it may take you longer to reach the destination than suggested.
- Kathmandu and Pokhara, two of the major cities offer renting places for all the gears you will need. So better opt for renting one than buying all those expensive gears if you’re not planning to use them frequently.
- Always ask for permission before taking photographs. Many of the museums and religious sites are off-bounds for photography. Be sure to respect the local law.
- Kissing or PDA is considered highly inappropriate and frowned upon in Nepal.
- There is no minimum suggested tip at restaurants, cafés, or pubs. While it isn’t mandatory or a part of everyday routine for locals, it’s certainly respected and appreciated.
- Travel insurance helps you fund your medical treatments, take care of your belongings, and rescue operations chiefly during high altitude trekking. So make sure you have one before the adventure.
- AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is a common health issue. If you are a beginner or have limited experience, you should take the time to acclimatize to the conditions. Make sure to pack some Diamox (Acetazolamide) before your trip and start the medications as per the instructions from guides.
Before we wrap up the article, here are some of the important FAQs about Annapurna Base Camp trek in January.
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1. Can you trek solo to ABC in January?
The short answer is yes.
Generally speaking, ABC is a safe destination for solo travelers. However, this high altitude trek has a fair share of safety hazards, so you’re better off with a partner or a group.
2. Is it a good time to visit ABC in Winter?
Yes, there is no problem to visit ABC in winter provided that you follow precautions and safety guidelines. The trek offers so many things that are not common during other seasons. Be advised that you will need extra packing and more caution during peak winters than other seasons.
3. Is there any age limit or restrictions for Annapurna Base Camp trek?
No. There are no age limits for the trek. However, since this trek is physically demanding, you would want to be physically fit and healthy for the adventure.
4. How to Avoid Altitude Sickness during the trek?
Well, there are the following steps you can take to prevent yourself from altitude sickness.
- Proper acclimatization
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, consumption of sleeping peels or having sex
- Stay hydrated
- Do not oversee any mild symptoms
- Trek higher, sleep lower
- Avoid rapid ascent
- Do not leave any members unattended
- Carry proper medications
5. Can I drink tap water along the route?
No. Water supply system in Nepal is not well organized and is often contaminated from the very source. This is the reason you should not drink tap water in Nepal. Apart from major cities, many remote parts of Nepal are not connected to the supply system and depend upon local water bodies for drinking water. Although Nepalese do not have a choice there, you do.
Always carry purification tablets when you’re going on a trek to any locations in Nepal. Bottled water is available in almost every teahouse, opt for those instead.
So there you have it!
All the guidelines and that’s there to know about trekking in Annapurna Base Camp in January. We hope this guide will serve you to make the best out of this trek.
Thank you for stopping by!